Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: judgement day

Visit from a government auditor

One of my bookkeeping clients missed a few payments to the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). Since the relevant financial records are stored on my computer I received a call from a lady at the CRA about two weeks ago  wanting to make an appointment for an audit. That visit took place two days ago.

The auditor had talked to my client, who explained the circumstances that caused him to get behind. He promised that he would be able to keep up to date with payments from now on and pay off the arrears if given enough time. When she came to see me, I was able to present her with all the relevant records and she was satisfied that all was in order and that we weren’t trying to conceal anything.

An upcoming visit from a CRA auditor sends shivers up some people’s spines. It doesn’t have to be a scary event if we are completely open, with nothing to hide. In this case, the lady and I spent a good part of the time visiting about our families and she left with the assurance that she had found everything in order.

One day, we are all going to be audited by the Ruler of the universe. If we are trying to cover something up it will be glaringly evident in that day. Wouldn’t it be best to allow Him to search our hearts today to see if there is anything that is not in order?

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

The strait way or the straightaway

Which road are you on? The straightaway is a wide, smooth road with gentle curves and gradual slopes. Multitudes are travelling down this road, pedal to the metal, hellbent on getting to . . . well — hell. Where else would you expect to get to on this road?

Jesus tells us that a lot of people travelling this road actually do expect to arrive at a different destination. At the judgement day they will complain insistently that a terrible mistake has been made. Indeed there has been a terrible mistake, but the Judge is not the one who has made it.

English can be a little confusing at times. The Bible does not speak of a straight and narrow way — it speaks of a strait gate and a narrow way. Strait means narrow, tight, restricted. We cannot get through that strait gate with our burden of unresolved sin, our list of accomplishments, our list of grievances. A good thing, too, as the weight of those things would be an insupportable burden on the narrow way.

Many people have looked at that way and decided that it’s not going to get them anywhere that they want to go. This is a fatal mistake, for this is the way that leads to the destination which every heart longs for.

The road to heaven is strait, or narrow, but it is not straight. We will get glimpses of our destination, but it will often be hid from view. We can never know what will be around the next corner in our life. We don’t need to; we have Someone to guide us: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30.21).

There is a passage in Isaiah that, at first glance, appears to contradict what I am saying here: “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (Isaiah 40:4). If one reads the whole passage from verse three to verse five, and then Luke 3:4-6 where it is quoted to describe the ministry of John the Baptist, it takes on a different meaning. God is calling people to prepare the way of the Lord, by untangling the crooked and perverse ways in their heart, by allowing their pride to be abased and by allowing faith in God to grow to fill the emptiness in their heart.

Perhaps we could make a secondary application of this verse in Isaiah by saying that the mountain doesn’t seem as high after we have climbed it with God’s help, and the valley not so deep after we have climbed out of it with God’s help. Nevertheless, there are mountains and valleys on the narrow way, and some of them are formidable.

The strait way is not easy on the flesh. But there are companions on this way to help us through the rough spots, and opportunities for us to help others who may be faltering. There is time to stop and smell the roses — and to admire the orioles who come to admire the roses (one was at our rose bush as I was writing this).

What choice will you make? If you choose the road, you must accept the destination to which it leads. If you choose the destination, you must accept the road that will get you there.

How fast can you run?

In my last post, I spoke of living where the deer and the antelope roam. The antelope part was referring to the animal below, which I have always called a pronghorn antelope. Now it is reported that it is not a true antelope at all and should simply be called a pronghorn. Small herds of pronghorns are frequently seen on the grasslands in the southern part of Saskatchewan, but they are more people shy than mule deer and thus not a problem around farm yards.

antelope-193273_640Pronghorns have been clocked at speeds that suggest they might be the only animal on earth that could outrun a cheetah. I am just as happy that we do not have cheetahs around here to test that out.

People run from danger in a variety of ways. Frank Jones*, a frequent visitor in a congregation where we were members some years ago, ran from his native Wales to Canada to get away from something. When asked what it was, he would only say, “Nobody will ever know what happened back there.” If pressed further, he would express the certainty that a merciful God would overlook whatever it ws he had done. Perhaps, but it seemed that Frank had run a long way and yet his trouble was still with him, even if no one else knew what it was.

There was a point in my later twenties when I seriously considered running away from my troubles. The young lady who had promised to marry me was having second thoughts, at my place of business I was being blamed for the dishonesty of the person I had replaced. The memory of an earlier time when I had run away from a problem convinced me that taking to the road would not be a solution. I couldn’t run away from myself.

Instead, I ran to Jesus. Things changed after that – I found that many of the the people who were doing business with me already understood the situation and the suspicions of others began to melt away. And in just one more month that young lady and I will have been married for 44 years.

Frank Jones wasn’t running away from his problem, he was trying to run away from himself. No matter how fast or how far you run, you cannot escape from yourself. Or from God. You will meet Him someday and He will have a record of all that you have ever done and you will finally recognize the justness of His judgement.

It doesn’t have to that way. You can run to the Saviour and have the record wiped clean through His blood.

*Not his real name

The second advent

In the hush of the silent midnight
Shall the cry of His coming be?
When the day of the Lord’s appearing
Shall flash over earth and sea?

Shall it be at the mornings awaking,
And the beams of the golden sun
Grow pale and be quenched forever
When his journey is just begun?

We know not, we dream not, the hour;
But we know that the time must be
When earth, with its clouds and shadows,
Will shrink, and tremble, and flee;

Will shrink to the deepest centre,
And render before His throne,
The Jewels the Lord will gather,
The Gems that He calls His own.

There, bright in heaven’s noonday splendour,
And robed like the dazzling snow,
The saints to their many mansions,
The chosen and blest, shall go.

And songs of angelic gladness
Be borne on celestial air
To welcome the mighty gathering,
The throng, that shall enter there.

And, oh! in that awful parting,
That day of unchanging doom,
When earth shall give up her millions,
And empty her every tomb,

May we find in the Judge a Saviour,
A Friend whom we know and love,
And be bidden by Him to enter
The courts of His house above.

-Annie Louisa Walker (later Coghill), 1861

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